Bangkok – It is now about a month since Anek Laothamatas, minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation, Royal Thai Government shockingly surprise Thai citizens by mentioned its moon mission. The announcement causes many unfavorable reactions from Thai citizens; despite our lack of human rights, freedom of speech, and poverty problem, going to the moon is believed to be out of our reach.
Most of the Thai media went to the government spokesperson, but they didn’t comment on that topic. We know that something was wrong. The minister shouldn’t have announced any detail.
Today, January 20, 2021. The responsible organization for the space program has made the very first public comment on the agenda. The National Astronomical Research Institute host, a Facebook Live session, brings the responsible person to join, including Saran Poshyachinda, National Astronomical Res., Saroj Rujiwat, Synchrotron Light, the first three organization to form the consortium. Pongsatorn Saisutjarit, International Institute of Space Technology for Economic Development, who later joined the consortium in early 2021, also joined the session.
Saran Poshyachinda made the very first public announcement on the program by showing the image presenting their milestone.
The program will include series of Spacecraft development.
- Thai Space Consortium Pathfinder will be their first technology demonstration satellite of the program and will be launched or developed not earlier than 2022.
- TSC-1 will be the first serious phase of the mission featuring an optical instrument for Low Earth Orbit observation. It will be launched not earlier than 2025.
- TSC-2 is the moonshot program. The consortium will launch the spacecraft into lunar orbit and conduct several experiments. (2027)
- They also aimed to develop and launch TSC-3, 4, and 5, but not many details were given.
(The number in the image is buddhist calendar, you can make it become AD by minus 543)
Thailand has no launch vehicle, so Thai will need to collaborate with other launch service providers. Will it controversially be China? We still do not know yet.
So what is it all about and what is the Thai Space Consortium
We need to go back to when the National Astronomical Res. had a sign and MOU with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in 2018, where we can be considered the program’s initiation. The program did not appear to be very clear who will join and what they will make. The TSC was gradually mentioned more and more since time pass. GISTDA and Synchrotron later mention being part of the consortium.
In December 2020, The consortium went larger by having the National Innovation Agency, the International Institute of Space Technology for Economic Development, and several universities joined them. The more organization joined will make the program impact the further industry. This was mentioned in their announcement session.
What will they potentially do
Thai Space Consortium will be mostly focused on science experiments. According to Facebook Live, they firmly believe the program will result in human development. Mentioning space weather physics, Mahidol University (who also join the program) has a robust weather physic study program led by David Ruffolo and his colleague. It makes sense since we already have many hypotheses on many space weather problems; the Thai Space Consortium spacecraft will be a very suitable platform for the program to join. More science experiments are expected to be on spacecrafts from TSC-1 to TSC-5.
Today’s announcement is the first step and an exciting point where they clearly tell us all about what will happen. The TSC-Pathfinder will be the first spacecraft, followed by TSC-1, and the moonshot TSC-2 and series of spacecraft will come. As they all said in the session, the program is believed to help Thai engineers and scientists develop their profession. Beyond that, they also aim to help create Space Economy for Thailand in the near future.